Developing successful social support: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of mechanisms and processes in a chronic pain support group

Finlay, Katherine A. and Peacock, Sue and Elander, James (2018) Developing successful social support: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of mechanisms and processes in a chronic pain support group. Psychology and Health. ISSN 1476-8321 (In Press)

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Abstract

Objective. The experience of long-term membership of a successful Chronic Pain Support Group (CPSG) was explored to identify; i) factors associated with social support, and; ii) ways that health-care professionals (HCPs) could help CPSGs become more effective and supportive. Design. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis enabled exploration of participants’ experiences of membership and rationales for continued attendance. Main outcome measures. Twelve participants (four males, eight females), recruited from a regional CPSG, completed semi-structured interviews lasting from 45-120 minutes. Following verbatim transcription, idiographic then cross-case analyses were undertaken. Results. Three superordinate themes emerged: (1) Investing in the new normal; (2) The nurturing environment; (3) Growth facilitation through social evolution. Increased investment and identification with membership, generated snowballing social engagement, enhancing pain management/well-being through collective humour and peer-to-peer support. Explicit guidance by HCPs in early stages of group formation/development, and subsequent implicit influences on group attitudes and actions, promoted the group’s development into its current healthy, supportive state. Conclusion. Contrary to stereotypes, membership offered positive respite from chronic pain through collective coping. Successful CPSGs forge an independent identity, fostering strong group investment and an ability to live well with chronic pain. HCPs can provide a stabilising foundation for CPSGs to develop positively and supportively.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chronic pain; support; health psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: School of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Katherine Finlay
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2017 13:07
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2017 13:07
URI: http://bear.buckingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/235

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